Many of you will be aware of my farming background. I am deeply passionate about our area and the great produce that our farmers produce. 

Farmers are custodians of the land and all too often, the significant role they play in nature conservation is not highlighted enough. 

In recent weeks we have seen Welsh Government launch the consultation on the Sustainable Farming Scheme. 

Whilst I welcome more details on what will be expected of farmers, I am deeply concerned that the payment rates are still unknown. 

Farms are business and they need certainty to plan ahead, to invest in new machinery, to employ staff. They cannot do this when they have no idea what subsidy payments they might expect to see. 


The environment and sustainability are at the forefront of these changes and that is to be applauded but there needs to be a reality check. Nowhere in this consultation does it mention food security. 

We all spoke about the importance of food security in the Covid pandemic, when the war in Ukraine started, but now it seems those valuable lessons have been forgotten. With many farms operating across the border, different requirements and rules further complicate the day to day running of a farm business.

I would urge you all to take the time to read the lengthy SFS consultation document. The list of requirements to qualify for the most basic universal payment is staggering, many incurring costs and a level of bureaucracy that makes the EU rules look simple.

I fear for the mental and physical health of our farmers who have to navigate these changes and somehow plan for their futures. Many will see these actions as unachievable and I am sure a large number will not be able to opt in. That is not what we want. 

The Welsh Labour Government should be bringing the majority of farmers with them in this new scheme, working with the industry to ensure their aims can translate into a reality. Most of all I fear for our rural communities. For every £1 generated in farming, this adds £9 to the wider economy. 

Just think of all the ancillary businesses that support our farms. Once farms are gone, they are gone. Rewilding might be the ambitions of some, but it won’t feed the nation, it won’t provide livelihoods and the landscape of mid Wales will look very very different as a result.

Our counterparts on the continent are recognising the threat to farming and taking action. We just might see the same here in Wales.
I urge you all to have you say in this consultation.